Evaluating salinity tolerance in diverse Taro (Colocasia spp.) wild relatives to enhance food security in the Pacific Islands. (APSF 21074)

APSF 21074 | Amount: $37,333 | Project Leader: B Campbell | Project Period:

A project undertaken at The University of Queensland, and supervised by Bradley Campbell.

The tropical root vegetable taro is under threat from rising sea levels. The future success of Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) is reliant on the ability to grow its own food and maintain self-sufficiency, as toxic levels of salt from contaminated ground water or tidal inundations can impact the cultivation of major food crops such as taro (Colocasia spp.).

Brad inspects taro.

Native or naturalised taro wild relatives are often found growing in areas with regular tidal intrusion in Southern Queensland suggesting these species may have adapted to salinity. Adaptation of these taro wild relatives to natural environments without human intervention means they are likely to be significant sources of abiotic and biotic stress tolerance traits.

Dr. Millicent Smith inspects taro salinity experiments.
Professor Ian Godwin and Dr. Millicent Smith are researching wild taro varieties.

In collaboration with the leading scientific organisation of the Pacific Islands (The Pacific Community, SPC), this project will identify and conserve taro wild relatives growing in saline habitats in and around Southeast Queensland, evaluate germplasm for salinity tolerance and improve capacity for Pacific led organisations to utilise diverse germplasm to develop taro salinity tolerant varieties for the future.